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This book evaluates the cogency, relevance, and prospects for success of the Dearing report and recommendations () for lifelong learning and the.
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Since the Robbins Report of , higher education in the UK has undergone major expansion, changing it from an elite to a mass system. This chapter explores the changing socio-economic context in which this transformation has taken place and considers how the expansion of higher education has raised issues of control, quality and funding. Dearing was asked to solve immediate problems and to look ahead to CQ Press Your definitive resource for politics, policy and people. Back Institutional Login Please choose from an option shown below. Need help logging in? Books Previous Chapter Chapter 8: Show Hide Page Numbers.

Email Please log in from an authenticated institution or log into your member profile to access the email feature. A consideration of control, funding and quality.

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Looks like you do not have access to this content. Despite all these considerable and significant advances, it is clear that Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning have a secondary role in universities and other institutions of higher education. Often, such provision is organised and delivered separately from the mainstream activities of the institution.

Whilst there is a growing realisation that Lifelong Learning in higher education — and especially Continuing Professional Development and related areas — are not marginal, there is as yet no fully formed, integrative, cohesive structure to enable Lifelong Learning to become central to the missions and practices of higher education institutions. There has been a huge increase in participation internationally from the s onwards in education generally and in higher education in particular.

UNESCO predicts an increase in student numbers in higher education world-wide from the figure of 65 million, to 79 million in , 97 million in and million by All four countries in this study have experienced a large increase in higher education participation in recent years. The policy aim is to increase the numbers following community adult education centre programmes who subsequently progress to university. In the Netherlands, there has been an expansion in university numbers, but a larger increase in those enrolling in the Higher Vocational Education institutions.

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Between and , for example, the numbers of students in universities increased from c. Finnish higher education has also increased the numbers participating — from c. In all four countries, participation by women in higher education institutions has increased. There has also been a marked shift in the age range participating in higher education. The majority of tertiary students in Finland, Germany and the UK are in the age group years old in the Netherlands the age group still predominates.

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Students over the age of 26 are also increasing in number, except in the Netherlands where financial and legal restraints for students above 26 years of age have only recently been relaxed and now apply to those up to the age of There has been little progress, in any of the four countries, in developing access for those of any age from the lower socio-economic groups. Whilst absolute numbers of working class students have of course increased as the higher education systems have expanded, the percentage of the total has increased only marginally, if at all.

The same rather depressing picture would seem to apply to disabled student numbers — though data here are far from complete for the four countries concerned. Overall, then, it is quite clear that participation in higher education has increased substantially in all four countries. Undoubtedly, more people now participate in higher education — and equally certainly there is a more even gender balance, though not across all subject areas. But older learners, disabled students, and, particularly, working class students of all ages continue to be under-represented, especially in the higher status higher education institutions.

Flexible approaches to learning are essential for widening participation in higher education institutions and thus for the development of Lifelong Learning. Traditionally, higher education institutions have catered, as noted, for 18—22 year old, full-time students who have few other commitments. Curriculum, pedagogy and the structure of the learning experience have thus naturally been uniform and relatively inflexible. If higher education institutions are to adapt to a Lifelong Learning culture and develop a heterogeneous student body, then a series of fundamental changes needs to occur in the overall learning experience.

To what extent have the higher education systems in the four countries involved in this study, introduced such changes? Traditional, mainstream university provision has adapted only marginally to these new imperatives. In all four countries the heartlands of the system remain wedded to cultures and practices that characterise elite rather than mass higher education systems, despite the huge increases in participation noted above. There are, however, signs of real change in both Finland and the UK, not least in terms of the development of the Open University systems.

In Finland, as a result of a policy change in aimed at reducing youth unemployment, young people between the ages of 18 and 25 have been able to enrol in Open University programmes, and currently c.

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In contrast, in the UK, c. In Finland, as in the UK, both open distance learning and direct contact, seminar methods are used, and summer schools are organised. Local colleges deliver much of the open distance learning, but curriculum design, quality assurance and the production of teaching materials remain the responsibility of the Universities. Most students are also in employment, many of them full-time. The Open University in both countries has been a pioneer of new teaching methods. The one-third of the teaching delivered through open and distance learning in Finland has been developed through earmarked Government funding for technology.

Audio, video, radio, TV, e-mail and audiographics are all used.

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Learning packages designed specifically for Open University students are produced, at a high quality, in both countries. Open University provision has also developed in the Netherlands, from the s, as a means of offering second-chance educational opportunities for adults: Continuing Professional Development CPD is another growth area in higher education in all four countries, though most notably in Germany.

In Finland and the UK, and in the Netherlands too, Governments have made strenuous though largely rhetorical efforts to encourage higher education institutions to move in the same direction. In both the Netherlands and the UK, this drive to vocationalism has been focused largely upon particular types of higher education institutions: However, in both countries policy is now pushing more strongly for similar priorities in the older, more traditional universities too. In general, it appears therefore that — with the possible exception of the UK — the higher education learning experience remains predominantly traditional, and that Lifelong Learning approaches are focused mainly upon Open University and Continuing Professional Development provision.

Emphasis upon quality and quality control across the economy has been a pervasive — some would say obsessive — characteristic of the s and s. Higher education in all four countries has unsurprisingly been caught up in this process.


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Accompanying this has been the demand for greater transparency and accountability. Monitoring quality in higher education is, however, notoriously difficult. As an OECD study in argued, failure to acquire a diploma or other award does not mean, necessarily, that the student concerned has dropped out.

Crude quality measures of this type cannot therefore be applied. There is of course a variety of approaches to quality assurance. However, as the Finnish report claims, the bottom-line definition of quality has less to do with the particular quality approach — economic, social, didactic, customer or management oriented, and so on — than with the view taken on the nature and goal of higher education itself.

The traditional view has been that the primary purpose of higher education is the cultivation of knowledge and wisdom. However, this itself is a contentious claim.

Richard Taylor

Whose knowledge and wisdom? Like the members of the comittee, the authors have sought to take a holistic view; to consider the underlying implications of genuine lifelong learning for the university system, and how institutions and the system will need to adjust. The outcomes are threefold: Reviews 'The publication of this book is both important and timely for everyone involved in higher education, since it provides a detailed and early analysis of the impact of the Dearing Report on lifelong learning.

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